Lotus vs Lotus starts tomorrow

It’s a big day in Formula One tomorrow: Group Lotus go head to head with Team Lotus in the first real battle of this war. There have been some skirmishes and petty name-calling already from both sides, but tomorrow the two sides have their first meeting in court in London.
The war is about whether or not Team Lotus are allowed to use that name, after there was a breakdown in the relationship of Proton (who own Group Lotus) and Lotus Racing last year. It seems Lotus Racing may have breached the terms of use of the Lotus name. Similarly, there is dispute over who owns the rights to Team Lotus: are they separate to or included with Group Lotus?

I think we fans of the sport mostly agree that this is well out of hand. It’s put me off from ever buying a Lotus (if I could ever afford one :D) although I probably would buy a Renault. This is probably one of the worst disputes to ever hit F1, and I wish this was fixable out of court.
As it stands, however, I don’t see that happening. Dany Bahar believes Group Lotus own all the rights to the Lotus name, including F1, and thus that Team Lotus shouldn’t be using it. Group Lotus have often used the Team Lotus name to promote their road cars. Tony Fernandes believes that the F1 rights are separate from the other rights of the Lotus name, and that he has bought them fairly from David Hunt, who previously owned the rights. It doesn’t help that Colin Chapman has sided himself with Group Lotus.
I can understand why Dany Bahar would want to go with an experienced F1 team, but there’s a great element of pride in bringing an F1 team from nothing to a strong position as Team Lotus hope to do. I think that would make a better selling point for the Lotus name than taking over a fairly good team. They’ve only been around for one season, and Team Lotus have a lot of support from fans. They’re expected to do well next year and be competing for points; theirs is the only one of the three new teams to have a car ready for Valencia. That takes dedication. I can’t understand why anyone would want to scupper this team, I really can’t.
I love the Renault guys. I think they’re awesome and have a great team. It’s a shame that the Lotus dispute will be hovering over them, and I wish them all the best for the season. I hope this does not run over onto the race track and ruin some brilliant racing. 2011 could be just as good as 2010, but only if the politics stay off the track.

What will happen tomorrow? Group Lotus want a quick decision, but it will probably end up having to go to trial. That puts it off until the winter. I think there will be at least one season of F1 with two Lotus teams on the grid. Let’s hope it’s the only one!


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